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Mexico promoter hoping for North American F1 season

NEWS STORY
27/09/2016

Mexican Grand Prix marketing director hopes that Liberty Media will help F1 flourish in America.

Last season saw the traditional passionately fevered race fans of Italy, Britain and Japan joined by their Mexican counterparts, their sheer joy at the sport's return to their country after a break of 23 years, providing one of the highlights of the season.

Ahead of what promises to be an even more anticipated and celebrated event, at which the promoters are aiming to emulate Monza and encourage fans on to the track for the podium ceremony, the event's marketing director, Rodrigo Sanchez, admits that it is hoped Liberty Media's buy-out of the sport will not only boost his event but bring more races to North America.

"When we are trying to build new audiences and bring new fans and create a new fan base, it does get a little complicated," he told Reuters.

"We wish we could have more and more races on prime time on our side of the world and I think the only way we will get that is if, collaboratively, there start being more races in the region in general. It would be great to basically consolidate Formula One in North America."

Ironically, at a time the sport's traditional European heartland is losing races to countries and governments awash with cash and desirous to be part of the F1 circus, Sanchez admits that he would love to see a North American season with numerous races, much like it used to be in Europe.

Currently, North America hosts three races, in Canada, Austin and Mexico, but having previously hosted events at Watkins Glen, Long Beach, Las Vegas, Dallas, Detroit, Phoenix and Indianapolis, some more successful than others, Sanchez feels that if Liberty Media properly promotes and builds the sport it could flourish in what many still regard as the spiritual home of the automobile.

"We need to keep promoting Formula One amongst the entire continent," he said. "We don't have the luxury as a geographic region that some of the other areas have.

It's well known that there is just a European part of the season. Having more races within your geographic area, it definitely helps to build a good fan base," he added. "There really hasn't been any longevity or consistency in the events, whether they change cities or disappear for a few years and come back, especially in the United States."

Last year saw a race-day attendance of 135,000 with 336,000 race fans understood to have passed through the gates over the course of the weekend. This year's race is already 90% sold out.

Referring to plans to allow fans (but not their dogs) on to the track for the podium ceremony, he said: "You look at Monza and it's just a beautiful picture of that front stretch full of people. So hopefully we can create something special this year."

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1. Posted by gturner38, 28/09/2016 23:58

"F1 does not need more races. Part of the beauty of the old 16 race schedule was that you had to wait those two or three weeks in anticipation of the next race and every race was vitally important. If you get to where there are 25 or 30 races, which is what it sounds like Liberty would need to do what they suggest they want to do, then a bad race doesn't mean much. Neither does a single good one. "

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2. Posted by RDFox, 28/09/2016 2:27

"@Stitch431: Or, as has been suggested before, have multiple regional F1 series with a final World Championship postseason schedule taking the top teams from each regional series. For example, a European series, an Americas series, and an Asia-Pacific series; the top three teams from each series then compete in, say, a four-race World Championship round to decide the actual World Champion amongst them."

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3. Posted by Stitch431, 27/09/2016 19:59

"Seems to me the calendar has to become an all year long one if you want a US season alongside the European/Rest of the world season. I feel and believe it is important to keep the sports also available in the European Heartland, where it's rooted!"

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